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People of the Book: A (Jewish) Book Themed Wedding

posted by Arielle Angel on November 28, 2011

I have to admit, I’m a faithful reader of the New York Times Wedding and Celebrations section, mostly because I find it really inspiring the way that love happens in all different ways, at different times for different people. Recently, I read this article, about two Jewish writers who found one another on OKCupid. The article makes mention of the fact that the writers used antique books as their wedding centerpieces. It’s hard when you’re keeping up a wedding blog not to plan your own wedding– even if you’re not even currently dating someone! I love this idea, and I thought I’d do some aggregating for all of y’all looking for inspiration. The great thing is so much of this has the potential to be cheap and DIY.

First some general Inspiration.

The coolest thing about books is the way you can play with color. Whatever your wedding palette, you can do it with books! Check out these book gradients!

Now for the Jewish stuff:


This picture has been circulating on the wedding blogs (from 100layercake):

Seems it would make a perfect chuppah, right? But it is a bit…much. All themes are in some respect performative, but this to me crosses over into theatre. So here are some other suggestions for a bookshelf-inspired chuppah.

Why not make your four posts out of verticle bookshelves like this one from Sapien?

The tall version of this bookshelf is (only?) 76 inches, and at almost $300 a pop, it’s hardly cost efficient for a four-poled chuppah. BUT, there’s no reason, with a little hard work and ingenuity, you couldn’t fashion something similar yourself. What would be the coolest (if you ask me) is an invisible shelf, that makes it look as though the books are precariously stacked one on top of the other. You could also use a metal rod to go down through all of the books, if you’re not worried about losing them. You can drill eyehooks into the top book of all four posts and attach your chosen chuppah fabric that way. (If anyone takes this advice and goes for it, please please please send us pictures! We’d love to see it!)

We’ve already blogged about using garlands from Etsy to make your chuppah. Here are some literary-themed ones that would be great for this purpose.

By hoopdaloop. $10 for a 10-foot garland

By The Pulparazzi. $9.50 for a 53 in. garland

By daisyanddots. $10 for 46 in. garland


Who says your ketubah can’t be in a book format? Just because few people do it, doesn’t mean it can’t be done! Several of the artists on our Ketuv roster work in book arts. Why not commission one to make your ketubah in a book, with the signatures on the last page? I particularly like the idea of a ketubah in a moleskine, a la Catalina Uribe Percy:

Ketuv artist Golnar Adili also experiments with text and documents in interesting ways:


Bookmarks, bookmarks, bookmarks!

Imbue You Wedding has some really beautiful ones:

Martha Stewart also has some good suggestions on how you can DIY, with a nice card stock and store-bought tassles.


Green Wedding Shoes posted a bride’s account of her invitation within a book. They’re great, but so time consuming they almost don’t seem worth it. Not to mention the exorbitant shipping costs. I much prefer these less bulky, more suggestive designs by Oh So Beautiful Paper.

Name cards

This is tops in my opinion. Totally DIY, and the name cards are personalized take home bookmarks. Only one suggestion: what if the line of books were a color gradient? Sure you might not have all your “favorites” but it would be real purdy.



Ok, so this has got to be the coolest idea ever:

From Gardenkultur and reblogged by Inhabitat. Thankfully, you can DIY, and Inhabitat has a great tutorial on how to create book planters. May I suggest bonzais?!

Along the same lines:


Other great ideas:

Tutorial from Once Wed.

I’m telling you, people, GRADIENTS.

Simply amazing. Via 100layercake.

Via Wedding Bee

Particularly love these very very old books. Via The Sweetest Occasion.

Ring bearing

A great idea by Jennifer and Chad from Hartland, MI, as featured in Brides.

Guest Book

The “typewriter guestbook” idea from Martha Stewart:

But what I think could be even cooler is turning an old book into a guestbook by lightly whitewashing the pages with watered down acrylic paint or gesso, and leaving certain text or images un-whitewashed, to show through. Your guests will sign right on top of the whitewashed pages. Here’s a tutorial that teaches you to do something similar. I’m not suggesting the scrapbook option, though you could do that, too, but rather that you use the text or images that were originally in the book to spruce it up. You could use a book of love poetry or a book of illustrated fairy tales, for example (or feel free to use something entirely less cheesy, of course). If you try it, send us a pic!


What do you think of this idea? Every guest brings a book they love, but wouldn’t mind parting with, and they deposit them on bookshelves somewhere in the wedding space. (What about on bookshelves like these invisible ones, from Umbra?) When everyone leaves, they take a book with them that interests them, as provided by another wedding guest. You can encourage How-To books, picture books, comic books, etc. for those who aren’t big readers, so they’ll be able to contribute and exchange with one another. Personal, progressive, and FREE.

Bridesmaid/Groomsmen Gifts

Secret “book boxes” are relatively easy to make, and a great gift. I wouldn’t recommend trying to make them for every wedding guest, unless you’re having a very small wedding, but for your nearest and dearest, I think this is a fun and personal DIY gift. Here’s a great tutorial on making a secret hollow book.

As I said before, I wonder at what point a theme goes overboard and becomes complete theatre. I imagine you couldn’t do all of these things at once, but rather choose the accents you most enjoy. Let us know what you think!

Best of Etsy: Green Growing Favors

posted by Arielle Angel on November 18, 2011

What’s the deal with favors? They’re mostly just manufactured junk, right? That’s why I’m partial to a living, growing, eco-friendly and potentially DIY alternative: plant favors! They’re beautiful, they’re utilitarian, and they’re quite often cheap. A note about eco-consciousness and the Jewish wedding. For whatever reason, conservation has not been championed as a cause by the most religiously and politically conservative members of the Jewish community, but that is not because this value is not in the Torah. It is! All over the place! There are prohibitions against needless waste (Bal Tashchis, Dvarim 20:19-20). There are laws against air, water and noise pollution (Harchakas Nezikin, found in the Talmud). There are many commandments regarding kindness towards animals, and a prohibition on causing them needless pain, particularly those who are going to be slaughtered for food (Tzar Baalei Chaim). There are laws requiring all cities to be surrounded by a greenbelt (in modern terms, this can be read as a way to preserve biodiversity). There are laws that require farmers to allow the land to rest every seventh year (shmitta). There is even a blanket decree that declares us stewards of the land, with a responsibility to it (Devarim 11:10). If we take care of the land, the Torah says, it will take care of us. We hope you’ll keep this in mind while planning your Jewish or inter-faith wedding. Or any wedding, for that matter. The environment is all we’ve got. If you feel inspired, you can attempt to DIY favors inspired by the below. Martha Stewart has some suggestions how (we particularly like slides 3, 4, and 5). What’s great about all of these favors is that most of them are pretty cost efficient and they all have the potential to double as name /seating cards. Air Plants

Air Plant Terrarium by TheTropicalGarden, 4.5 x 4.5 in. $12/per but less for bulk orders. Moss colors are customizable.

Air Plant Boxes by toHOLD. $135/ 20 boxes, customizable colors

From the seller: “Your guests can place them in an old jar from the flea market, old wedding china, or in a cool ashtray. No dirt required! Easy to care for – just run them under water once a week and give them some light (they LOVE office flourescents).”


Seed Bombs by BigRockPaperCo. 7-10 seed bombs in each packet, $1.50/per ($1.65 for custom orders). Seeds, ribbon color, and tag fully customizable.

Seed Bombs by visuallingual. Hand-screenprinted personalized pouch (3 x 4.5 in.) with 5 seed bombs of edible herbs: basil, dill, cilantro, chives, and parsley. Price per depends on quantity, but ranges from $6.50/per – $3.50/per.

Wildflower Seeds by thepaperynook. Handmade muslin pouch, seeds, and custom thank-you note tied with rope. $1.95/per.


This is a personal favorite! Mini Chalkboard Herb Pots by SophisticatedPalate. Comes with 3 pots, chalk, handmade envelope with your choice of seeds. $9/3 pots with seeds, but discounted for use as wedding favors.

Succulents by SucculentsGalore. Succulents with pots wrapped in natural color ribbon. $168/48 succulents with pots.

Lavender Herb Box by favorcreative. 3 x 3 x 2 in. recycled box. Inside: 2 in. peat pot, peat pellet, instructions for planting, and lavender herb seeds. Ribbon color is customizable. Personalized tags sold separately. $35/10 boxes.

Chuppahs We Heart: Best of Etsy

posted by ketuv_admin on October 27, 2011

We’ve been focusing a lot on DIY chuppahs, but what if you still want something handmade, but you’re not really the crafty type? Never fear, Etsy is here!

We took a look at what Etsy has to offer and we’ve decided to give you our favs.

1. Intricately-Cut Canopies by sculptor Andrea Cohen‘s chuppahstudio.

Photos by Anna Kuperberg Photography

While it’s definitely more of an investment, we can’t help but drool over internationally known sculptor Andrea Cohen’s custom chuppahs. From her Etsy page: “Each chuppah comes with a painted wood frame and intricately-cut canopy. The canopy pattern, as well as the frame and canopy colors are all customizable.”


2. Quilted Canopy by Kelly Brooks of BrooklynNouveau.

Getting your names and wedding date embroidered on the back side of the chuppah costs just a bit extra ($50) but it seems worth it to me! She can also build a sleeve onto the back of the chuppah so after the wedding it can be hung on the couple’s wall.

From her Etsy page: “I will create a completely personalized quilted chuppah based on your colors and style for use on your wedding day. This chuppah is perfect for a couple looking for a unique, rustic chic, handmade feel to their wedding. Great for outdoors (the light shines through the top with a wonderful stained glass-like effect) or indoors. I made one for my own wedding and it was so beautiful and fun that I thought I would start doing this for others!”


3. Garlands! (Various)

Ok, so we said no DIY. But this is only halfsies. We showed you the wonder of garland-based chuppahs with the Confetti System chuppah. The good news is, you can basically do this with any kind of garland. All you have to do is make the posts (there are lots of quick, easy, affordable ways of doing this, depending on what you want) and string a few of them across.

Like this:

Reblogged from Pretty Lucky Events.

The extra good news is that when you type “garland” into Etsy there are literally over 15,000 results, and most of them are really affordable. Here are some of the garlands we think would make great chuppahs.

Pom Pom Garland by WestcoastKnittery. $17/ 70 in.

Pom Pom Garland by perfectlypaper. $40/ 7 ft., comes in customizable colors.

Hand-cut Heart Garland, by PaperPolaroid. $35/ 9 hearts

Shakespeare Book Heart Garland by bookity. $28/ 8 ft.

Vintage Handkerchief Flower Garland by HomeRoomStudio. $18/ 6.5 ft.

Vintage Map Garland by moonandlion. $8.50/ 9 flags

Comic Garland by missisaau. $6.50/ 30 in. Also check out her Heart Garlands. (You might have to ask her to make longer ones.)

Crochet Garland by Emma Lamb. Colors customizable. $59/ 70 in.

Tissue Garland by pipsqueakandbean. Customizable colors. $9.50/ 12 ft.

Paper Garland by hoopdaloop. Fully customizable. $18/ 15 ft.

Paper Fan Garland by EntertainingPapers.$24 / 6 tassels (6 ft.)

Fabric Garland by ShopLuLus. $42 / 65 in.

We love the idea of garland chuppahs. You can get a lot of them affordably and match your chuppah to other accents of your wedding decor. The possibilities are endless, whether you go the DIY or the Etsy route.

Chuppahs We Heart: The Chuppah Bed

posted by ketuv_admin on September 14, 2011

The idea of the chuppah bed sprung from furniture designer Henry Levine’s own wedding in 2004. In an effort to personalize his chuppah, Levine, a Parson’s School of Design MFA graduate, fashioned its four posts from scrap wood from the floor of his studio.

The Levines under the chuppah, made from scrap wood from Henry’s studio.

The poles sat stored away in the couple’s new home in Texas for nearly four years, until Henry decided he wanted to incorporate them into a piece of furniture– aptly, the couple’s marital bed. We love this idea not only because of its modern aesthetic, but also because of its inherent symbolic value– taking the chuppah, the symbolic “home” that the couple creates on their wedding day, to one of the couple’s most sacred spaces within their home. It also jives with one of Ketuv’s focal points: turning modern takes on traditional objects into heirlooms, thereby keeping traditions alive.

The Chuppah Bed

Levine now offers the chuppah bed to other couples. He creates the poles first from reclaimed and salvaged high-quality wood and sends them to the couple to be used in their ceremony (the couple must provide the fabric for the canopy itself, whether it be a talis or otherwise, according to their vision). After the ceremony, the couple will send the poles back to Henry in Austin, Texas and he will build the four-post bed from the poles.

The chuppah poles come free with the purchase of the chuppah bed ($6200.00 for a King and $5900.00 for a Queen), or can be purchased alone for $1200 (for a set of four poles). He’s also available to design custom poles and beds that are priced accordingly.

Levine believes that the chuppah bed can have relevance for couples of many different faiths, and we agree. A canopy creates a private space for the couple on their wedding, the sacred space where they are joined. Making the marital bed reminiscent, or perhaps a re-creation of this space is, simply, a beautiful thought.

You can learn more about the chuppah bed, and see more of Henry’s work at his website:

Chuppahs We Heart: Christine and Nate

posted by ketuv_admin on August 30, 2011

This DIY chuppah comes from Christine and Nate in California. It was built from branches collected from the backyard of the bride’s childhood home in Portland. The canope is a batik thrift store fabric, cut to size. The wood boxes were built by the bride and groom (they got a kid at Home Depot to cut the wood down to “not quite the right sizes”), and family members helped pour the cement into the boxes on the wedding day.

There’s a lot to love about this chuppah: elegant, personal, eco-friendly and economical. And let’s not forget the stone-lined aisle. Kinda Andy Goldsworthy.

The couple did A LOT of the wedding details themselves, and you can see a bit of the DIY glory on Christine’s Flickr page, or on her blog. We couldn’t help but notice their awesome homemade ketubah– which Christine describes as a cross between a ketubah and a Quaker wedding certificate. Interesting that both of their heritages (Christine comes from Quaker stock, and Nate is Jewish) include the signing of a marriage document. One of the wonderful details from the Quaker tradition is that everyone present at the wedding signs the document. Very cool. You can hear what Christine has to say about the “Quaker ketubah” on her blog.